1917 crimes: Disruptive customer gets a beer in the face

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At the Scarborough Police Court, Mrs Agnes Poole, barmaid, at the Victoria Hotel, Scarborough, was summoned by Mr Robert Pennock, Bank Chambers, for an assault on April 15th.

Defendant pleaded not guilty, and was represented by Mr GE Royle, solicitor.

Complainant said he was a cab driver, and lived at Bank Chambers, Huntriss Row. He ordered, he said, a “drop of rum” from Mrs Poole at the Victoria Hotel Vaults. After he drank it he was going to have another, and he said to defendant: “Haven’t you made a mistake about the change?”

She said: No, I have given you the change,” He replied: “Well, I cannot find it.” She began to talk, said witness, and stated to him, “You must be an ass.”

He said nothing more to her, and she then threw a glass of beer in his face. It saturated his collar. It was a dangerous thing to do. If the glass had slipped and caught a man in the eye it might have been a serious matter.

The clerk: Had you said anything to cause it?

Witness: No. When she called me an ass, I said: “Well, they have larger ears.” She replied: “You had better be quiet, or I’ll put you out.” I said: “I am not ready yet.” That is all I said.

The clerk: Did you say anything after she had thrown the beer?

Witness: No. She still kept talking on. I had witnesses, but none have turned up. I have rung for one now.

Mr WS Rowntree: How many glasses had you?

Witness said he had two. That was all the drink he had had that day.

The clerk: Did you say anything after she had thrown it?

Witness: No. I said: “It is a dirty trick.”

He added: “I have been a driver for forty odd years, and I have never had such a trick done to me before.

By Mr Royle: Mrs Poole supplied him with the first drink. It was not half an hour later when he asked for the second one - it was only 10 minutes. The second drink was served by a Miss Bloor. It was not until he was ordering the second drink that he referred to the change. He had given a shilling for the first drink, and only found twopence. He had not found the sixpence yet. He put down two shillings for the second drink.

Mr Royle: Didn’t you charge Mrs Poole with robbing you of the change? - I didn’t.

Didn’t she tell you it was half an hour ago, and she had given you the change, and didn’t you call her a liar? - No.

Didn’t she say: If you say that again I shall give you sour beer, and didn’t you repeat it; and was it not then, after being charged with being a thief and a liar by you, that she promptly threw the beer in your face?

Witness said he only asked if she had given him the change.

Another cabman, Joseph Nicholson, who had then arrived gave evidence. He said he resided at 6, Vine Street, and was in the Victoria Hotel Vaults on the Sunday night in question. He heard some dispute about change, and he heard Mrs Poole say: I’ll throw this beer in your face if you say it again. Witness did not know what complainant had said to cause this remark.

Complainant said he could get more witnesses if the case was adjourned.

Mr Royle urged that the case might go on. He, too, could have bought more witnesses. The case was not of national importance (laughter).

The magistrates suggested adjourning the case until next day, and the clerk said that if Mrs Poole could not get a certain soldier of the Hunts to attend he would make enquiries that day.

Finally the magistrates adjourned the case for a week.